Today Meta, Sony, Microsoft, Qualcomm, and Nvidia joined forces to form Voltron. Just kidding, the tech giants are teaming up to form the Metaverse Standards Forum. Not only will you find the names of familiar tech companies on the member's list, but you will also recognize names such as Ikea and Alibaba, which own massive retail outlets.
The biggest tech company you will not see on the list is Apple. While the consortium naturally didn't mention Apple's absence and Apple itself didn't comment, it's possible that this is attributable to Apple's common focus on keeping its ecosystems proprietary.
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Why is Apple sitting this one out?
The Metaverse has not exploded in popularity as rapidly as some in the tech world have hoped. Sadly for the folks at Meta and other tech firms, it feels like many consumers are waiting for some next big thing, whether that be whatever Apple VR/AR tech may be coming or the rumored Quest 2 Pro.
Tim Cook hinted at Apple's AR/VR headset recently with a classic Apple marketing ploy of saying that people are enthusiastic about the segment, but dissatisfied with what's available today. While rumors have persisted for years now, this is about as direct a reference as we've gotten from Apple itself. At this point, unless it can actually shift the space-time continuum I don't know if I can possibly be blown away by whatever Apple has in store. However, I'm certain the company's loyal fans will be ready to pre-order with their Apple Cards on day one.
What is the Metaverse Standards Forum?
The Metaverse Standards Forum released the following statement.
"The metaverse will bring together diverse technologies, requiring a constellation of interoperability standards, created and maintained by many standards organizations," said Neil Trevett, Khronos president. "The Metaverse Standards Forum is a unique venue for coordination between standards organizations and industry, with a mission to foster the pragmatic and timely standardization that will be essential to an open and inclusive metaverse."
This cooperative sounds like a great idea to ensure the growth of the Metaverse and optimal access and interoperability that consumers will appreciate. Membership in the organization is free and open to any company that wishes to join. The VP of Metaverse Vishal Shah stated, "Building a metaverse for everyone will require an industry-wide focus on common standards. The Metaverse Standards Forum can drive the collaboration that's needed to make this possible, and Meta is committed to this work. Creators, developers, and companies will benefit from the technologies and experiences made possible by common protocols."
Again this is exciting and could lead to the metaverse becoming integrated into the daily lives of more users, or it could crash and burn. While a more unified metaverse will be more likely to take off than the current proprietary metaverse islands that exist between companies, the killer app or experience that wins over a wider audience is still missing. The forum will start gathering next month to plot its course.
Lastly, this Metaverse Standards forum excites me because tech companies coming together should excite anyone. Tech giants working together to form Metaverse Voltron should be a net benefit to everyone. The lone wolf, ronin nonsense of Apple is frustrating when you dig deeper and look at how much of what goes into its devices is made by or licensed from competitors. At the end of the day, teamwork makes the dream work.